By Mylena Vazquez

It’s an unspoken rule in marketing that your target audience should inform every decision you make. But oftentimes in the process of appealing to our target audience, we can run the risk of ignoring various other segments of our customer base that, taken together, can account for a substantial part of our audience.

This is something that businesses can oftentimes get wrong. Take online marketplaces like Etsy, for example. According to a recent Statista survey, Etsy buyers were 81% female and just 19% male. However, the percentage of shoppers was a bit different: 71% were female and 29% were male.

What story can these numbers tell us?

While women are twice more likely than men to buy handmade goods online, the Statista survey shows us that there are men shopping on Etsy who are not converting into actual customers. Even worse, half of all men have never even heard of Etsy—an eye-widening statistic.

Perhaps it’s because Etsy’s marketing efforts are directed very specifically to their target audience: women. As a C2C company, Etsy is, in effect, by women for women. But clearly there are plenty of men who, despite not being marketed to, are going to the platform in search of products.

How can Etsy deal with this?

One way to combat this problem is, of course, to send personalized communications to customers. While this is already common practice among marketers, it’s especially important to companies who want to engage customers who don’t fall within their target audiences. Because these are private, individual communications, companies don’t have to compromise their overall brand image to cater to these fringe audiences.

Alternatively, companies can run limited-time marketing campaigns around specific holidays or events. In the case of Etsy, they could target men around Mother’s Day by promoting gifts that mothers would like to receive from their sons. Etsy could also target men around cult male-centric holidays, like No-Shave November. As with personalized communications, limited-time campaigns would be one-offs that would engage these customers while not impacting brand image as much as running large-scale campaigns regularly.

Final thoughts

As marketers, it’s certainly important to keep our eyes on the prize. But we also can’t afford to neglect our other customers who don’t fit the mold. If we do, they’ll no doubt be swiftly swept up by the competition. We definitely don’t want these customers to be the ones that got away.


How do you engage your customers who don’t fall within your target audience?

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